Google Pixel’s January Update: More Than Just Apps, February OTA on the Horizon


Google’s January feature drop for its Pixel devices, typically known for introducing significant system updates, took a different route this year, focusing primarily on app updates from the Play Store. The tech giant has announced that a regular over-the-air (OTA) update for Pixel users will follow in early February. This deviation from the usual pattern of system updates in feature drops has caught the attention of Pixel users and tech enthusiasts.

Key Highlights:

  • January’s Pixel feature drop centered around app updates, no system update.
  • Google Store emailed 20% discount codes for Mint Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.
  • New features include body temperature measurements and updates to the Fitbit app.
  • Magic Compose and Photomoji are server-side updates to Google Messages.
  • The February software update is speculated to possibly include Android 14 QPR2.


Detailed Analysis

January Feature Drop: Focus on Apps

In contrast to previous feature drops, the January update for Pixel devices does not include a system update. Notable updates include a new version of the Pixel Thermometer app that adds body temperature measurements and the Fitbit app’s enhanced logging support. Additionally, a special version of the Google app for Circle to Search will be available.

Upcoming February OTA Update

Google has confirmed that the regular February software update will begin rolling out to Pixel users in early February. The specifics of this update, such as whether it will include Android 14 QPR2, are yet to be revealed.

New Features and Improvements

Health and Convenience

  • The Pixel 8 Pro introduces a new medical feature in the Thermometer app, enabling users to scan their forehead for body temperature measurements.
  • The Fitbit app has been updated to support these new health features.

Enhanced Search and Communication

  • The “Circle to Search” feature will be available from January 31, allowing users to search anything on their phone using a simple gesture.
  • “Magic Compose” in Google Messages uses generative AI technology for stylistic rewriting of messages.
  • “Photomoji” on Google Messages lets users create reactions using personal photos.

Connectivity and Wearables

  • “Quick Share” replaces Nearby Share, facilitating faster sharing of content across Android, ChromeOS, and Windows ecosystems.
  • “Audio Switch” feature expands to Pixel Watch, allowing seamless connection transitions between devices.

Connectivity and Seamless Integration

  • Quick Share: This update demonstrates Google’s focus on ecosystem interoperability, ensuring Pixel devices work efficiently within a broader range of technology platforms.
  • Audio Switch for Pixel Watch: The expansion of the Audio Switch feature to Pixel Watch enhances the wearable’s utility, further integrating it into the Google ecosystem.

Anticipation for the February Update

The upcoming February OTA update is eagerly awaited by the Pixel community. It is speculated to potentially include Android 14 QPR2, following the early start of its preview program. This update might bring additional features and improvements to the Pixel lineup.

The January feature drop for Google Pixel marks a shift towards app-centric updates, offering users enhanced functionality and convenience. With the February OTA update on the horizon, Pixel users have much to look forward to in terms of system improvements and potential new features. The anticipation builds as Google continues to innovate and enhance the Pixel experience.

About the author

Rahul Gaur

Over the past 10 years of experience as a Content specialist, I've worked to build successful web publications focusing on SEO and researching, writing, editing and publishing content.